Keeps Me Searching (For a Heart of Gold).

Via Brittany Amell
on Jan 6, 2014
get elephant's newsletter



Underground, I am tunneling. I have a torch that casts light along the walls. I can see approximately seven metres ahead of me and seven metres behind. That’s a total of 14 metres.

My world is a total of 14 metres, in hind and foresight. It doesn’t feel like enough, I want to see more, but there really is no other option. I work with what I am given.

A steady thrumming heartbeat fills my ears as the dark and uncanny appearance of shadows plays tricks on my eyes.

I was born with the moon in my eyes. A bright and steady gaze, fixed upon me like a button. Infused into my skin, the light inherent. But over time, as I grew to know the sun, I forgot about the moon. I forgot about the light within the dark. I came to only accept the sun, blocking out any darkness with blinding luminance and a refusal to be brave. Plastered smiles, fear burying deep and cavernous.

Did it carry me forward? This idea of forced optimism?


It gave me hope. Hope that there would always be more. That enough was never enough. But it gave me anxiety. Any sight of impending clouds on the horizon were overwhelming. They didn’t fit in with this vision of a  perfect blue sky.

I became constrained there, in that perfection. Hands balled tight into fists, I clung hard to my now forfeited ideal.

Perfection is like death.

I finally cracked. One day, around dawn, part way through light and dark.

My eyes had hardly adjusted to the light, but I saw what was there. I looked away, believing that if I did I could somehow return to yesterday. I didn’t want to deal with what this story was telling me. I didn’t like what I had seen there on that impending hill that day, and I didn’t like who I had seen, the me that I was at the time.

I pushed this realization as far away from me as possible. I was no where near the sunny, perfect ideal I thought I should be and I grew afraid. I argued that couldn’t face who I was.

But,’ seemingly said my life, ‘you have to. If you don’t look at you, no one else will. If you don’t do it for you, no one else will.

Something suggested I had better listen, so carefully, I started picking through the accumulated heaps of a familiar sadness. Turning inwards, I became a friend with sadness. (Even to this day, when it returns I like to say, “Oh you again.”)

It took a while for me to get comfortable with my darkness. To take ownership and accountability for the part I played in it. My darkness, like the night, seems to disappear when I turn on the big city lights.

At first, I felt I needed those lights on all the time. The idea of sitting with any sort of sadness or darkness seemed more than I could handle. It took a while to  find a comfortable seat, but one day a huge life crisis caused a massive power outage that plunged my whole inner city into darkness. I had no choice but to sit with myself there and then in that darkness. I had to deal with my own gaze and it made me uncomfortable.

Looking inside, at my own darkness made me squirm—ew yuck. But I had no choice, I had to look. Sometimes certain situations have a way of thrusting you into the unknown. I’m grateful for them, because in this instance when I did stop to look, I saw the intense network of brilliant stars shining within. I saw the moon. I saw the light that had been there all along.

Something nudged me that day, back in 2004, towards beginning my journey towards the center of my heart.

Something that told me that the only way out is in.

And here I am, still tunneling inwards, closer to my heart. Closer still, to my breath.



Want 15 free additional reads weekly, just our best?

Get our weekly newsletter.

Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: Travis North


About Brittany Amell

Brittany Amell is a writer, teacher, coach and student. Sometimes she wears the entire outfit, and sometimes she wears one piece at a time. Based in Ottawa, Britt can often be found working closely with individuals or groups of all ages. When in a pinch, she is mostly likely to use cinnamon, a deep breath, and some of her good old fashioned British Columbian charm. Voted Most Easy to Approach by her cat and Grandpa, Britt welcomes your comments and questions. Try not to run into her in the hall, or you might find yourself walking away with an invite to her dinner table or worse- she to yours. Interested in working with Brittany? You can connect with her via her website, Twitter or on Facebook for "a guaranteed hit. She is quite prolific," says R.W.


2 Responses to “Keeps Me Searching (For a Heart of Gold).”

  1. Jacob says:

    Thank you for putting words to my feelings over the last couple of months. My mirror has awakened my truth.

  2. Hey Jacob, thanks for reaching out. Perhaps one day I'll be privileged to read something you've written on this very site. I feel the need to include a Pema Chodron reference here because she just seems to always bring the spiritual boom (and she happens to be a hero of mine): “The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.” from, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times